118 of 123 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2010
This is only a half of the book!!!
I thought I would get this out of the way first. Truly, there was not even an attempt to wrap up anything in this novel, not even temporarily. "Pegasus" ended mid-scene, mid-conflict, almost mid-sentence. It will be quite a laugh if McKinley never finishes this sequel.
Now onto the story itself. I was glad to be back to the old-school princess-fairy-tale McKinley, after the genre detour "Sunshine" was. If you ever read fantasy written by the author, you already know the key elements of her stories: meticulous, imaginative world building, a young, strong heroine who has to come to terms with her own powers and grow into her responsibilities and attain self-confidence, friendships with animals, magic, all accompanied by the most gorgeous writing. All of this was in "Pegasus."
The moment I opened the book, I was completely enchanted by the world McKinley had created and by the words she used to describe it. The centuries-old alliance between humans and pegasi, their complicated communications, binding rituals - all of it was so new, so unique, so detailed and well thought-through. And then the moment Ebon, the main character's Sylvi's bond-mate, entered the picture, I totally fell in love with this naughty, outspoken, mischievous pegasus. And the way MckKinley described Ebon tumbling into Sylvi's window, or spread his wings, or a tiny pegasus playing with Sylvi, it made me grin in delight. McKinley just has such a genius way with words, I can't explain it.
But (of course there is a but), as much as I loved the world building and gorgeous writing, it just wasn't enough for me. It wasn't that the book was light on plot, but like in all McKinley books, the plot was driven by the main character's internal struggles and growth. And again, it's fine by me, generally. I loved Harry's personal journey in "The Blue Sword," but that book was only 270 pages and "Pegasus" - 400 and only half of the story. I don't know about other readers, but I can enjoy luscious, descriptive and reflective writing for only so long, at about page 200 I want some action, and so happened here. By the middle of the book my attention started to waver and I began skimming a bit, trying to get to the end or at least some excitement faster. Basically, it seemed the narration got a little too indulgent. For what the plot was, the book was way too long. I could literally summarize the entire novel in one paragraph. I would have enjoyed it much more if the whole story only took one 300-page volume to tell.
I can see how "Pegasus"'s reviews can be all over the place. Fans of McKinley's writing and those who enjoy leisurely, slow paced quality of it, will love the novel, and rightfully so. Those who prefer books with more action and despise being left with no resolutions, will hate it. I am somewhere in the middle. At this point I am moderately interested to know how it all works out, but will I still be in 2014, when the sequel comes out?
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2010
My husband recently got me "Pegasus", and I read it while recently sick in bed. It was a treat to have a book by the author of "Deerskin", and I read it avidly at first. But then,noticing that I was more than halfway through the book, and it was moving at an unusually slow pace, I began to wonder what was going on. When it came to the last chapter, I was totally bewildered and upset, feeling extremely cheated, and more than a little angry at Ms.McKinley to have written a book that ended with no ending. There is no notice anywhere in the book that it is supposed to be a two part book...normally when this is done, the author puts a snippet of the first chapter of the second book in after the last chapter, to show readers that the book is not intended to be a standalone. But for most buyers of this book, I bet they dont know this- I found out only by reading the reviews here.
A note to the publisher-*PLEASE* drag a few pages of the second book out of Ms McKinley, and add them to future printings, or you are going to lose buyers of both this and the second book. This one appears to the unwary reader to be a standalone, and it is *extremely* disappointing, taking away much of the joy the reader felt in following the tale of the princess and her bondbrother pegasus. It is a good book, but greatly flawed by this omission, and the incredible lag till the publication of the second one. In my opinion, she rushed this onto the shelves long before she should have...1012 is too distant a date for the next book from this one.
50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2010
I will preface this with the acknowledgment that this book is:
1) Part One of a Two-Part Pair
2) A Cliffhanger book.
The trouble with Pegasus, compared to other McKinley books is that it is not a one-shot volume. This is shocking, because she never writes sequels. Every McKinley book ever has been a one-volume novel, even when related to other novels. That this has changed so suddenly has left many fans bewildered.
Does this make Pegasus less brilliant? No.
The world-building is intricate, perhaps because it is so very different from our own. The geography, culture, customs, history, it's all there, making this world believable, and real enough to step into. The characters, also, are fascinating. Sylvi and Ebon most especially, but also their families and enemies. There does not seem to be even a single superfluous character in the entire volume.
The narrative is a little different from normal-- because the world is so different, and there is so *much* to fit into each volume, some of it must be explained with flashbacks. Several reviews have mentioned disliking flashbacks, or finding it to be distracting, but I feel like they all served their purpose.
I really did love this book, and I felt like despite the lack of sword-waving and adventure, it was still suspenseful and fascinating. I look forward to seeing what comes next.
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2010
This isn't book one in a series, or a whole book on its own. Pegasus is half a book. It ends, just as the conflict begins. I'm sure there is a second part coming. Robin McKinley is too much of an expert to just end the book there, but as a reader, I feel abandoned mid-story.
A recent Connie Willis book was split in two also. I hope that we can make publishers realize this is unacceptable. If a book is written with the intention of splitting it, then it can have a smaller arc within the series arc. Just chopping it in two, however, kills any momentum the story gained.
If I had known this was half a book, I would not have paid for it. Robin Mckinley or not, I don't buy half books. That is ridiculous.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2010
I have read and reread McKinley's books since "Beauty" first came out. I doubt that I'll reread "Pegasus" or bother with the sequel--which I knew nothing about. Count me among those shocked and disappointed at the ending. As the pages thinned at the end I wondered how she could possibly wrap up the story, to find she didn't bother--or maybe doesn't know how. Clearly the relationship between Prncess Silvi and the pegasus Ebon is more than brotherly or best friends; apart from the telepathic attunement, she loves being near him physically--where does McKinley think she's going with that? There's no clue in the book that magic can turn her into a pegasus also, but her longing to stay in the pegasus land and increasing dislike of her human body suggest perhaps in part 2 she will become one--so much for her learning to deal with the world. The other problem with the book is McKinley's increasingly didactic style; other reviewers mention her world-building, and I'm getting the impression, from "Sunshine" and "Chalice" also, that she would rather create the world, imagine all the details--and tell us every one of them--than tell the story. She doesn't weave the details in, she lays them out in sometimes repetitive lengths of exposition. "Pegasus" is 400 pages long; there should have been room for the story. At least "Sunshine" ended with a battle won, even though the war wasn't over and the relationships between Sunshine, Mel, and Con were unresolved; McKinley didn't do a sequel to that book and it makes me wonder if she will bother this time either.
38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2010
Every review here is quite accurate, only individual perceptions differ. I suggest you read all the reviews before purchasing this novel.
Beautiful landscape, good people, a wondrous Pegasus species, a sneaky villain, horrible monsters, political intrigue, an interesting world you might want to visit. All the elements are there.
Put it all together well and you should have a brilliant story.
Sadly, this was not put together well. Not only is the reader constantly confused, so are the characters. There seem to be some rules that should never be broken, but only some magicians seem to understand these rules. Even the good magicians are confused, apparently some of their history books are missing or hidden.
The story I read (which is obviously a story the 5 star reviewers read differently) ...
Sylvi (human) is bonded in a ritual ceremony with Ebon (Pegasus) because it is what a princess does at the age of twelve. Why is it the custom? No idea , but it seems to correspond to a convoluted history that is part of a treaty between Pegasus and humans.
Sylvi and Ebon bond incredibly well during the ceremony, creating a strong telepathic and very sweet friendship, but this is somehow bad. Why is it bad? No idea, but the court magicians feel threatened because they believe only they should be able to translate speech between a bonded pair with a whacked out sign language that is less than understandable. Why shouldn't the Pegasus and humans understand each other through unfettered telepathy? Because true understanding is somehow bad.
Ebon takes Sylvi flying, (sounds like fun to me) but this is also supposed to be wrong, so they have to do it in secret. If they get caught flying together, disaster will strike. Why? Don't know.
Ebon and Sylvi travel through the kingdom to outlying towns and cities, earning the love and respect from the people. Good? No, bad somehow.
In the last chapter, some hidden and previously unread book is found by the evil magician. The treaty between the allies is broken. Weeping and suspicions, lack of trust between Pegasus and humans ensues. The bonding between Sylvi and Ebon must be broken for the good of the kingdom. Why? No clue.
The cryptic reading of the passages from the hidden book by the evil magician make absolutely no sense. The story read is about a love and sacrifice between a bonded pair of a human prince and Pegasus. In fact, (in my opinion) the translation points in the opposite direction than how it's perceived by the magician.
And so it ends without end... Everyone sadly goes their separate ways even though the monsters are coming and they desperately need each other as allies to face the threat.
Wait for the sequel that is supposed to come out sometime in 2012. Maybe the questions will be answered and explained. (Assuming you remember the questions and still give a tinker's damn.)
Personally, I don't care what happens to these folks. Re-reading this mishmash to get back into the loop is too painful to contemplate.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2010
I feel like McKinley is no longer trying. I loved her earlier stuff (Beauty, Hero and the Crown, Blue Sword), read them all numerous times, but I think she has stopped stretching her imagination as hard. Even though I didn't like Sunshine or Chalice I was filled with hope and wanted her to be good so badly that I pre-ordered this book as a act of good faith. I had no idea it was a only 1 part of a multi-part book so the stupid plot doesn't even finish. How could they not alert me of this? I doubt I'll read the 2nd book when it comes out, maybe I'll look up its plot to see how it ends but I won't even commit to that. From my perspective the main weakness in this book is that the problem doesn't make any sense and it's unclear what's at stake, if anything. The main conflict seems to be that there is a big, mysterious communication barrier between the Pegasi and the humans and the passing of that barrier by the protagonist and her Pegasus is causing problems for some reason. This logically makes no sense to me because if both species have written languages then I don't see how it's impossible for them to at least create a dictionary. Instead McKinley goes through great lengths to describe a crude sign language that they can only execute imperfectly because of anatomical differences and she hand wavingly dismisses alternatives because of possibly some kind of magical spell that makes it impossible for them to communicate? I wasn't buying it. It also seems like nothing is at stake. People are just dumbly uncomfortable with the unconventional intimacy between the 2 main characters but there aren't any clear consequences of this except in the end when they're inexplicably separated. In previous books, when there's a conflict,lives are on the line, but here nothing is really happening. It's unclear why either species even needs to communicate except in times of war or something- they don't typically collaborate on anything. I really wanted this book to be good but it doesn't even make sense. It's such a waste that even if McKinley's skills as a character builder or whatever have been improving over the years, nothing makes up for a silly story.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2013
Regrettably, this book reminds me of a piece of writing advice from years ago. Novice writes up a story about a guy who's afraid his wife's an android, ends it with the discovery that she is. Experienced writer/editor points out that's where the story should *start*, as what's interesting is what the guy does with/reacts to that knowledge.
So with Pegasus. It's a disjointed mess, jumping about in time and space to no particularly good effect, and leaving things that should feel important (visiting the pegasus homeland and the Caves) to the same level of narrative importance as a village féte, and (surprisingly for McKinley) characters who fade out of memory almost as soon as they're introduced. Sylvi herself, who mostly reacts instead of acts, is one of McKinley's less-memorable heroines.
And then it stops in mid-scene, just as the primary conflict (almost entirely absent for most of the book) reappears.
Should have been more tightly edited, compressed and kept with its yet-to-be finished other half.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2010
Shocked and appalled by the abrupt ending, not at all the author's usual style. There IS a sequal due out in 2 years (2012). If I'd known that, I would have just waited and bought the pair, because this book's 'ending' was a HORRIBLE way to pause the narrative. I don't know what the writer and her editing/publishing team were thinking. Boo.
Otherwise, an intricate coming-of-age story with bits of culture shock/adaptation and political intrigue thrown in for good measure. The heroine is a sympathetic character for readers who are young, shy, and/or a younger sibling. Slow story development and sudden shifts in chronological narration may bother some readers, but everything is braided together in an interesting way. The cliffhanger will probably make you throw the book across the room. Good luck with that.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2010
I feel completely cheated. Towards the end of the book I started feeling uneasy about how the plot would be resolved...it was not.The book ended on a cliffhanger.I paid for a complete story, this is only a half.